HOUSATONIC RIVER paddling, MA

May 26, 2014 - WOODS POND & HOUSATONIC RIVER canoeing from Lenox Station, MA.  A plastic dock now replaces the muddy put-in that I had to put up with last time I was here - a bit high for kayakers tho.  The river upstream passes thru wildlife refuge & state forest land, mostly undeveloped.  A dam downstream of the put-in creates Woods Pond & very little current is noticed paddling upstream for the first couple of miles.  Many backwaters along the way.  5 miles to Decker Landing access.  Electrical lines & power station of the Electric Power Research Institute - interesting but jarring.  Turned around a couple of miles above the New Lenox Rd bridge.  Abundant birdsong, bullfrogs doing the bass lines.  Beaver, muskrats, goslings, wood ducks, mallards, bald eagle, yellow warblers, least sandpipers, oriole, cardinal, red-winged blackbirds, hawks, water snake.  A few blackflies in the morning but absent later with temp at 80F & breezy.  Quite a few other folks out in canoes & kayaks on this Memorial Day.  13+ miles, 6 hours. 
May 18, 2014 - HOUSATONIC RIVER from Brookside Rd in Great Barrington, MA to Rannapo Rd in Ashley Falls, MA.  After recent rains most area rivers were high but the Housatonic was at a nice level (3.8' on the Gt Barrington gauge).  This stretch of the river is 50'-100' wide.  Paddled a short distance up the Green River (clear water compared to the browner Housatonic) and other tributaries & backwaters.  Good current most of the way, some obstacle trees in the river but lots of room to get around these.  Old Covered Bridge.  Least sandpiper, spotted sandpiper, bank swallows, oriole, yellow warbler, yellowlegs, mallard, vulture, red-tailed hawk, carp.  Lots of birdsong.  Mount Everett often in view.  Light development, shores mostly woods & fields.  No bad bugs.  Paddling guide pdf.  15.8 miles, 5 hours.  Perception Expression 11.5, a 11'8" kayak, a good choice for this trip.

June 30, 2013 - HOUSATONIC RIVER from Brookside Rd, Great Barrington to Rannapo Rd, Ashley Falls, MA.  Gt. Barrington gauge at 3' - a very nice level. The Housatonic runs thru a wide floodplain; silver maples, cottonwoods & sycamores dominate the tops of its sandy banks. The current, sometimes gentle sometimes quicker, helps us along. Over the banks, one gets occasional views of Mt. Everett, the Taconics & the hills to the E. Pretty soon we are in the area where the Stockbridge indians (Mohicans) had their great 60' long house 300 years ago. The river winds gently with some straight stretches; many strainers & some shallows are encountered but are easily maneuvered around. Couldn't quite get away from road noise in this 4.8 mi. stretch to the covered bridge (white marble pilings). 2 miles further, Hubbard Brook enters from the W. The river pulls further away from Rt. 7 & becomes more peaceful in a 6 mi. stretch between bridges. Near the end of the trip the river is quite wide.   Mallards, mergansers, hawks, gb & green herons, bank swallows, sandpipers, rw blackbirds, kingfisher, 4 owls, whitetail deer.  Lots of mosquitoes at put-in & take-out, none on water & when we stopped for lunch on a low sandy bank.  13.7 miles, 4.5 hours.  Paddling guide (pdf).

Jun 7, 2010 - HOUSATONIC RIVER from Rannapo Rd, Sheffield, MA.  downstream past  Bartholomew's Cobble soon into CT to broken old Canaan Dam.  Light current, headwind was more of a factor on way back upstream.  Very little development seen from the 100' wide river, mostly wooded shores, some pastures; quite peaceful.  Cows, turkey vultures, turtles (adult & little one, shell ~4" long).  ~8 miles, 2.5 hours.


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